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A gap year is a rite of passage for a lot of people to wash away the structure and stress of school/college before diving head first into the professional working world. But it can be done at any time, not just after education. Lots of people, including myself, quit their jobs to go travelling and figure out what they want from life.
However, a gap year doesn’t have to be purely recreational. You can make the most of your time away by learning new skills and testing out potential career paths. One of the most popular ways to do this is to become a ski instructor during your gap year.
Plenty of countries offer a ski instructor course, but in this article I’ve teamed up with We Are Sno to tell you all about ski instructor courses in Canada because it’s the country I know best and, well, who doesn’t love Canada?! Oh and I will be focusing on ski lessons, but all of the below can be applied to snowboard instructor courses too.
Become a Ski Instructor on Your Gap Year
Why Take a Gap Year?
There are so many benefits of taking a gap year. For one, it teaches you life skills that school never covers. You’ll learn to take responsibility for yourself and your finances. You’ll experience cultures and religions that you had previously only ever seen on TV or read about in books. You’ll meet people that normally you’d never have a chance to encounter. You’ll make friends, you might even fall in love and you’ll definitely fall in lust.
A gap year forces you out of your comfort zone and helps you to learn and grow. It gives you the opportunity to practice language skills and to try new things (scorpion for dinner anyone?!). Honestly, the pros far outweigh any cons that your friends/family might be concerned about. I have never heard anyone say that they regretted taking a gap year, where as I’ve heard plenty of people say they regretted not travelling when they were young. So, what are you waiting for?!
Why Become a Ski Instructor?
If you’re active, not afraid of the cold and love a good time then taking a ski instructor course seems like the perfect way to make the most of your gap year. It’s a great way to enjoy yourself, get outdoors, see a different part of the world and make money at the same time once you’re qualified. Plus, think of the apres-ski! And it’s not ALL work, you’ll get time off to do some of your own exploring.
I think one of the major perks of learning to ski to a high standard and obtaining ski instructor certification is that you can work seasonally if you want. For example, if you have a busy season you can save your money and then travel for the rest of the year until the season starts again. Or you can chase the snow and work all year round in different countries. OR, you don’t even have to work outdoors. With the rise in popularity of indoor ski slopes you could even work close to home, all year round, at an artificial ski facility. Ski instructor courses can lead you to a very flexible career.
*RIDICULOUS BRIDGET JONES STYLE STORY ALERT*
Ladies, the world needs more female ski/snowboard instructors. I speak from experience. I’ve only ever had two lessons but they were both with male instructors. During the first one, in France, I ended up with my fly down for about 15 minutes because I couldn’t grip the zip with my gloves on. And any attempt to pull it up just made it look like I was some sort of creep fiddling with my crotch. This obviously resulted in me turning a lovely shade of puce and wishing an avalanche would come along and swallow me up so that I didn’t have to face my instructor with my pants half on show.
During my second lesson, in Finland, I ended up splitting my ski pants while posing for a photo, which was an equally memorable experience. I feel like I could have done with a sympathetic female instructor by my side in both those situations. So, ladies, do me a solid and try a ski instructor course so that accident-prone girls like me don’t die of embarrassment on the slopes. Plus it would be nice to have equal representation on the slopes for all the more serious equality reasons too!
All of the above goes for snowboarding too. I just prefer skiing (find it easier) so I’m focusing on that. If you want to skip right to the info on snowboarding courses and snowboarding internships then click here.
Ski Instructor Internships/Course and Ski Instructor Jobs in Canada.
The best way to become a ski instructor is to join one of the ski instructor internships. These ski internships are basically a ski instructor course that comes with a guaranteed job offer upon successful completion. Dream! Nothing better than knowing that you’re skiing your way into a paying job. I must mention that a minimum of three weeks previous experience on the snow is required for the ski instructor courses.
They require you to be able to comfortably link turns in a controlled manner on an intermediate pitched slope. But if you’re not sure what level you’re at, maybe you haven’t skiied in a while, then make sure to ring the guys at We Are Sno and they’ll talk you through it and find the best course for your level. The courses include shared accommodation, help with obtaining visas, the Level 1 instructor exam plus the option to add on the Level 2 exam for a fee, ski lift pass, We Are Sno merchandise, airport meet and greet etc.
So why Canada? Canada is the perfect place to become a ski instructor for so many reasons. Some 20 million people travel to Canada every year just to enjoy one of around 300 ski resorts in the country. And with snow fall of around 10 metres most winters, it’s easy to understand why. Canadian people are world renowned for being kind, friendly and laid back. That certainly translates to their ski resorts and you’ll feel right at home in no time. You’ll be eating poutine, having a drink with course mates in one of the cosy bars and generally having the time of your life.
Canadian resorts also offer great opportunities for further exploration on days off. A Canadian road trip is an absolute MUST! Check out Banff and Jasper national parks, or head across the border to Seattle for a weekend, the options are pretty much limitless. We Are Sno ski instructor courses in Canada are available in Silverstar and Mount Washington ski resorts.
Mount Washington is located on Vancouver island making it one of the most picturesque ski resorts around. It boasts over 11 metres of annual snowfall, 2 terrain parks, 81 total runs and over 1700 acres of terrains, so you won’t be bored! The accommodation provided is in a spot called The Riding Fool in the nearby town of Cumberland. It’s warm and cosy and the town has all the basics that you’ll need for day to day living. If you need a bit of city life you can drive to nearby city, Courtenay, in around 15 mins or catch a bus that takes around 30 mins. Honestly, what are you waiting for?
Courses start from around £4,500 and can be paid off monthly over 12 months with 0% interest. There are early bird discounts available depending on how far in advance you book. To see the full details about the course click here and make sure to fill in the eligibility form to receive the full brochure containing all the info you’ll need on ski instructor jobs and courses in Canada and elsewhere. We Are Sno have a 100% pass rate which speaks highly of the level of support they give their interns during the duration of the course, not to mention the excellent instructors.
You can read and watch reviews from people who have taken the
courses with We Are Sno and gotten ski season jobs here.
- Learning to Snowboard with TomTom
- Tips for Surviving Your First Ski Trip
- The Perfect Canadian Road Trip – Banff and Jasper National Parks